Still their best and most challenging
Matthew T. Medlock | Cincinnati, OH | 07/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Radiator is one of the most difficult great albums I've heard. In fact, the first time I listened to it, I wasn't sure I liked it at all. There aren't as many instantly satisfying songs here as there are on Rings Around the World or even Fuzzy Logic, but this one's even more admirable because of its startling dynamism in separating the oil and water differences between their grinding, avant-garde electro expressionist aesthetic and their classically influenced passion for a good pop tune.
It's easy to adore the gorgeous electronica-infused chamber pop melody of "Download," but try out the squealing fuss suspended just above the rhythm in "The Placid Casual." Then try out the multiple personality freak-out invention, "Bass Tuned to D.E.A.D." The end of "Mountain People" sounds like the band's tressed up in Devo-esque jumpsuits and firing lasers across the studio space. And they seem to take a detour through a Spaghetti Western in the middle section of "Demons." Album standout, "She's Got Spies," is a powerful blast of psychedelic pop as if delivered by raucous punks; kind of ironic that one of the more accessible songs is one of the best.
It takes an unnecessary trip through intentionally dissonant noise rock that feeds on vibrating and polarizing tones on "Hermann Loves Pauline." They even give us a minute-and-a-half throwaway in "Chupacabras" which may only seem listenable because it follows the aforementioned "Hermann." What ties the album together is the band's consistent willingness to embrace pop melodies even while leaping from one fuzzy, reverbed-out lily pad to the next. It just misses masterpiece status, but anyone who enjoyed their 2001 populist breakthrough should find plenty to like here, even if it requires patience and perspective.
Best cuts: "She's Got Spies," "Demons," "Down a Different River," "Download," "The Placid Casual," "Mountain People," "Bass Tuned to D.E.A.D." "Play It Cool," "Torra Fy Ngwallt Yn Hir," "The International Language of Screaming""
Sacco | here there and everywhere | 09/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Radiator' is burst of sci fi inflected rich pop rock from Welsh band Super Furry Animals. Crammed full of sonic tricks and deep well polished guitars, drums and bass, its almost an overload of sound. It probably won't appeal to all, but if you're a fan of the Beach Boys (especially Brain Wilson) or other brit pop band like Supergrass you might want to give this album a spin.
The sound is as mentioned above something akin to Beach Boys circa Pet Sounds, only as played by the muppets. Most crucially 'Radiator' has the tunes to live up to that description. While certaintly not as great as 'Pet Sounds' tunes like 'The Internation Langauge Of Screaming, She's Got Spies and Down A Different River' a brilliant little songs that you'll find yourself humming along all the time after you first hear them. The standout track though is 'Demons' which opens with the brilliant line 'clarity just confuses me' and develops into a depressing pop ballad of exceeding brilliance that merges hypnotic key boards with mariachi horns and fuzzy guitar riffs in away you can't help but fall in love with.
You might not get all the reference to Wales and the UK, you certaintly won't hear all the sonic trickery thats going on the first time, but you'll find yourself captivated by this great little album time and time again."
Dizzying, eclectic and inventive - their best
alexliamw | Oxford | 12/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Radiator' is surely the best Super Furry Animals album, startlingly consistent and sounding, really, like no one else. It is crammed full of highlights, in fact the first 8 tracks are almost perfect. There's the upbeat exuberance of 'The Placid Casual' (which actually sounds a little like recent live dance experimentalists The Go! Team); the skewed otherworldlyness of 'Demons', which is their take on epic balladry, all distant trumpets, keyboards and acoustic guitars; the slightly camp 'Play It Cool', which is The Beatles and Jackie Wilson transported to a distant future generation together; perhaps best of all, the techno-meets-indie monster that is 'Hermann Loves Pauline', which feature a stomping chorus that pre-empts Franz Ferdinand's 'Take Me Out'. There are other amazing tracks, and nothing that really spoils the bunch. Excellent stuff."